The Rise of Rome (ca 750–44 b.c.)
After reading and studying this chapter, students should be able to discuss the role of land in the development of Rome. They should be able to describe the nature of the Roman Republic. They should be able to explain how and why the Romans expanded the territory under their control. They should also be able to connect Roman expansion to shifts in Roman values. Finally, they should be able to describe the strengths and weaknesses of the late Republic.
I0. The Land and Its Early Settlers 0
A0. The Etruscans and the Roman Settlement of Italy (ca 750–509 b.c.)0
10. The Etruscans established permanent settlements that evolved into the first Italian cities.
20. The Etruscans played a major role in Italian life.
30. They engaged in active trading relationships with the Mediterranean world.
40. The Etruscans drew the Romans into their sphere of influence.
50. The Romans embraced many Etruscan customs.
60. Under the Etruscans, the Romans gained contact with the wider Mediterranean world.
B0. The Roman Conquest of Italy (509–290 b.c.)00
10. The Romans built a political system that facilitated their expansion.
20. Rome’s founding legends underscore the importance of gender norms to Roman ideals.
30. Between 509 and 390 b.c., the growth of Roman power was slow but steady.
40. Between 390 and 290 b.c., the Romans consolidated their gains and reorganized their army.
50. The Romans spread their culture through sharing their religious cults, mythology, and drama.
60. Rome’s success in diplomacy and politics was as important as its military victories.
70. The Romans gave their Latin allies considerable local autonomy and, for some, the possibility of full Roman citizenship.
II0. The Roman Republic
A. The Roman State0
10. The Roman constitution was an ever-changing mix of traditional beliefs, customs, and laws.
20. In the early republic, social divisions determined the shape of politics.0
a0. Political power was in the hands of wealthy landowners called patricians.
b0. The common people were called the plebeians.
30. The most important political institution of the republic was the senate.
40. The republic also had several assemblies that elected magistrates and passed legislation.
50. In 471 b.c. the plebeians won the right to their own assembly, the concilium plebis.
60. Contact with foreigners lead to the development of a theory of “natural law,” law that applied to all societies.
B0. Social Conflict in Rome
10. The Struggle of the Orders was the attempt by the plebeians to win political representation and to protect their rights from patrician domination.
20. Rome’s need for plebeian soldiers led to early reforms.
30. The lex Canuleia made it legal for patricians and plebeians to marry.
40. The Law of the Twelve Tables was codified as a result of plebeian agitation.
50. The struggle ended in 287 b.c. with the passage of the lex Hortensia.
60. The Struggle for the Orders made all male citizens equal before the law, but individual independence was limited by the power of the paterfamilias.
III0. Roman Expansion
A0. Italy Becomes Roman0
10. Between 282 and 262 b.c., the Romans built on their earlier successes.
20. Rome and the rest of Italy began to share similar views of their common welfare.
B0. Overseas Conquest (282–146 b.c.)
10. With Italy under their control, the Romans embarked on a series of wars that left them rulers of the Mediterranean.
20. These wars were not part of a grand plan for world conquest.
C0. The Punic Wars and Beyond (264–133 b.c.)
10. The struggle with Carthage for Sicily resulted in the First Punic War.
20. During the Second Punic War Carthage expanded its power into Spain.0
a0. Carthage’s greatest general, Hannibal, lead an army all the way to the gates of Rome.
b0. He was ultimately defeated by the Roman general Scipio Africanus.
30. The Third Punic War ended with the destruction of Carthage itself.
D0. Rome Turns East (211–133 b.c.)
10. At the same time as the Punic wars, Roman armies conquered much of the eastern Mediterranean.
20. The Romans used the discord and disunity of the Hellenistic world to divide and conquer it.
IV0. Old Values and Greek Culture
A0. Cato and the Traditional Ideal
10. Marcus Cato (234–149 b.c.) was born a plebeian, but rose to prominence in the Republic.
20. Cato’s legal career served his political ambitions.
30. Cato was married, but never mentions his wife in his writings.
40. Roman mothers were responsible for the raising and early education of children.
50. An influx of slaves from Rome’s wars and conquests upset the economic and social balance of the countryside.
60. Religion played an important role in Cato’s life.
B0. Scipio Aemilianus: Greek Culture and Urban Life
10. Rome’s conquests brought great wealth to the city.
20. Hellenism dominated the cultural life of Rome.
30. Scipio embraced Hellenism and embodied a new Roman spirit: imperial, cultured, and independent.
40. The new Hellenism stimulated the growth and development of Roman art and literature.
50. Conquest brought the Romans leisure and Hellenism shaped the way they used their free time.0
V0. The Late Republic (133–31 b.c.)
A0. Unrest in Rome and Italy0
10. Factional politics and civil wars resulted from Rome’s acquisition of empire.
20. Rome’s Italian allies sought full citizenship.
30. A growing number of urban poor led to further problems for the Roman state.
40. The Gracchi Brothers sought land reform for the Roman poor and full citizenship for Rome’s Italian allies.
50. The Social War resulted from the agitation of the Italian allies for full Roman citizenship.
60. The reforms of powerful leaders such as Marius and Sulla had dangerous implications for the republican constitution.
70. Political leaders such as Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Julius Caesar acquired enormous power.
80. Powerful generals jeopardized republican government.
B0. Civil War
10. Two political alliances, called the First and Second Triumvirates, undermined the power of the republican constitution.
20. Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey jockeyed for power.
30. In 45 b.c. Caesar defeated Pompey and assumed supreme power.
40. In 44 b.c. Caesar was assassinated, setting off a civil war that pitted the Caesar’s murderers against Octavian, Marc Antony, and Lepidus.
50. Victory over the conspirators did not end the fighting, however, as Marc Antony and Octavian soon came into conflict.
60. Octavian defeated Marc Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 b.c.
10. “Romans and Aliens.” How did Romans view foreigners? Was the Romans’ view of foreigners similar to that of the Greeks? What institutions did the Romans develop to incorporate noncitizens into the “Roman family”? Sources: C. J. Smith, Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society, c. 1000–500 b.c. (1996); N. Morely, Metropolis and Hinterland (1996); R. Kallet-Marx, Hegemony to Empire (1995).
20. “Roman Imperialism: Fact or Fiction?” Did Rome pursue a policy of aggression or merely “back into empire”? Historians have long debated this aspect of Roman history. Sources: R. Kallet-Marx, Hegemony to Empire (1995); E. T. Salmon, Samnium and the Samnites (1967); J. Heurgon, The Rise of Rome to 264 b.c. (English translation, 1973); W. V. Harris, War and Imperialism in Republican Rome, 32770 b.c. (1979).
30. “The Gracchi: Radical Reformers.” Why were the Gracchi brothers perceived as radicals? What were their real intentions in seeking social reform in the second century b.c.? Were the Gracchi brothers genuinely interested in the plight of the disadvantaged of Rome, or were they self-seeking opportunists plotting personal gain and increased political power? Sources: J. K. Evens, War, Women, and Children in Ancient Rome (1991); P. A. Brunt, Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic (1971); A. W. Lintott, Violence in the Roman Republic (1968); H. C. Boren, The Gracchi (1968).
0Using Primary Sources
“How to Win an Election—Roman Style.” Have students read part or all of The Handbook of Electioneering by M. T. Cicero’s brother Quintus. The book provides graphic insights into the details of Roman politics in the late Republic. Use the reading as the basis for a discussion of Roman political life. Then have students write a short paper comparing Roman political techniques in Quintus Cicero’s book with those of contemporary American society. Finally, have students discuss their insights in class.
00classroom 0Activities 0
I0. Classroom Discussion Suggestions
A0. How did the Romans win battles against such able commanders as Pyrrhus of Epirus and Hannibal the Carthaginian?
B0. What was a “new man” in Roman politics, and what implications did this designation have for an individual entering the Roman political arena?
C0. How were conquered peoples assimilated into the Roman system?
D0. What do historians mean by the phrase Struggle of the Orders?
E0. What were some of the major reasons for the destruction of the Roman Republic?
II0. Doing History0
A0. Have students read selections from the literature of the Roman republic and find descriptions of daily life in ancient Rome. Use these descriptions as the basis for a class discussion and/or a term paper about Roman social life. Sources: Livy, History of Rome, 3 vols. (Penguin paperback edition); Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Romans (Penguin paperback edition); Virgil, Aeneid (Penguin paperback edition); R. M. Ogilvie, Roman Literature and Society (1980).
B0. Although the historical actuality of characters such as Aeneas, Dido, Romulus, Remus, Horatius, and Cincinnatus is in doubt, Romans of the mid- to late Republic seemed to believe in these “fathers and mothers of the republic.” What role did myth play in the development of the Roman state? Do myths usually have some basis in historical fact? Have students read some of the Roman myths as preparation for a class discussion or for a short paper. Sources: H. H. Scullard, A History of the Roman World, 753–146 b.c. (1961); M. Morford and R. J. Lenardon, Classical Mythology (1971); N. Lewis and M. Reinhold, Roman Civilization: Sourcebook of The Republic (1966); Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (1960).
III0. Cooperative Learning Activities0
A0. The Republic Creates an Empire
Organize the class into the jigsaw teams of six students each. Charge each team with learning about the wars that Rome fought that led to the creation of an empire: the Latin Wars, the Samnite Wars, the Punic Wars, the wars against the Greek and Macedonian world, the conquests of Gaul and Britannia. Each group should present its findings in class. Each group should create a chart in which members present their answers to the questions below. Charts might be affixed to the classroom wall or a bulletin board. Each team should answer the following questions:
10. Who were Rome’s significant military leaders at the time?
20. What were the strategy and tactics employed?
30. Whom did Rome fight?
40. What battles were decisive in the war?
50. What outcomes resulted from the war(s)?
B0. The Ever-Lovable Toga Party
If fraternities and sororities are going to maintain this tradition, why not make sure their parties are historically accurate? Try to assign each student a particular Roman of the Republic (either a real character such as Julius Caesar or a semifictional one such as Horatius). Their task is to learn about the character and come to class (on an appointed day) dressed as the character. You might also ask students to decorate the classroom and bring refreshments (based on students’ understanding of what Romans of the republic ate and drank). The students’ tickets to the toga party are their costumes and oral presentations on their particular characters.
10. Using a map of the Roman world, have students identify the Roman provinces on an outline map of the Mediterranean world.
20. Using Map 5.2 (Roman Expansion During the Republic) as a reference, answer the following questions.
a0. What role did personal ambitions play in Roman expansion? What does this tell us about Roman politics in general?
b0. How did the relative speed of travel by boat facilitate Roman expansion? What challenges did the Romans face as they attempted to push their zone of control inland in Asia and in Gaul?
c0. Why did the Romans perceive the Carthaginians as a threat? What Roman ambitions did they threaten?
10. Julius Caesar: The Rise of the Roman Empire. (22 min. Color. Encyclopedia Britannica Films.)
20. Julius Caesar. (116 min. Color. Republic Pictures Home Video.)
30. The Etruscans. (27 min. Color. Films for the Humanities and Sciences.)
40. Pompeii: Daily Life of the Ancient Romans. (45 min. Color. Films for the Humanities and Sciences.)
50. Cleopatra. (186 min. Color. Films, Inc.)
60. Life in Ancient Rome. (Videodisc. Color. Britannica Videos.)
70. Thine Is the Kingdom. (52 min. Color. Films for the Humanities and Sciences.)
80. The Robe. (135 min. Color. Films, Inc.)
90. Claudius: Boy of Ancient Rome. (Videodisc. Color Britannica Videos.)
100. The Romans on the Rhine and Danube. (Videodisc. Color. Britannica Videos.)
110. The Roman Empire: Growth and Development. (Videodisc. Color. Britannica Videos.)
120. The Detroit Institute of Art: Rome (www.dia.org/collections/ancient/rome/rome.html)
130. Map: Roman Empire Expansion (darkwing.uoregon.edu/~atlas/europe/interactive/map26.html)
140. Roman Italy: Urbanization and Road Building (darkwing.uoregon.edu/~atlas/europe/interactive/map27.html)
150. The British Museum: Rome (http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/explore/world_cultures/europe/ancient_rome.aspx)
10. Exploring Ancient World Cultures: Ancient Rome (eawc.evansville.edu/ropage.htm)
20. Rome: The Punic Wars (www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ROME/PUNICWAR.HTM)
30. Life in Roman Times: Marriage and Family (http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/family.html)
40. Life in Roman Times: Home and Hearth (http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/home.html)
50. Life in Roman Times: Religious Practices (http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/religion.html)
60. Territorial Expansion of the Roman World (www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/firsteuro/roman.html)
70. Rome: The Etruscans (www.wsu.edu/~dee/ROME/ETRUSCAN.HTM)
80. Detroit Institute of Art: The Etruscans and Their Influence (www.dia.org/collections/ancient/theetruscans/theetruscans.html)
H. H. Scullard gives a broad account of Roman history in A History of the Roman World, 753–146 b.c., 4th ed. (1993), to which should be added T. Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome (1995), which covers the history of Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars. The Etruscans have inspired a great deal of work. The best treatment is H. Barker and T. Rasmussen, The Etruscans (1997). E. Gabba, Dionysius and the History of Archaic Rome (1991), is the study of the origins of Rome by an eminent scholar who also looks at how the Greeks percieved it. A great deal of work has been done on the importance of the Gauls and Celts, notably D. Rankin, Celts and the Classical World (1996).
Roman expansion continues to attract attention. Easily available is C. J. Smith, Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society, c. 1000–500 b.c. (1996). Many studies deal with Roman expansion throughout the Mediterranean. T. Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome (1990), treats the period from the Bronze Ages to 264 B.C. In Italy itself D. J. Gargola, Lands, Laws, and Gods (1995), examines how the Roman magistrates regulated the publc lands of Rome. Similar is N. Morely, Metropolis and Hinterland (1996), a study of how Romans and Italians integrated their economies between 200 b.c. and 200 a.d. J. Lazenby addresses Rome’s conflicts with Carthage in two books: First Punic War (1996) and Hannibal’s War (1978), dealing with the Second Punic War. R. Kallet-Marx, Hegemony to Empire (1995), examines how Rome’s power in the eastern Mediterranean became established between 148 and 62 b.c. S. L. Dyson, The Creation of the Roman Frontier (1985), deals with the process by which the Romans established their frontiers, and K. R. Bradley, Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World (1989), analyzes the slave revolts of Spartacus and others. C. Bruun, ed., The Roman Middle Republic, ca. 400–133 b.c. (2000), examines anew many central issues of the period; unfortunately, many of the chapters are in foreign languages. D. Shotter, The Fall of the Roman Republic, 2d ed., (2005), studies the many facets of the causes of the Roman revolution.
One of the best studies of Rome’s political evolution is A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Citizenship, 2d ed. (1973), a classic work of enduring value. J. F. Gardner, Being a Roman Citizen (1993), is a broad work that includes material on ex-slaves, the lower classes, and much else. E. S. Gruen explores the effects of the introduction of Greek ideas, literature, and learning into central aspects of Roman life in two books: Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (1992) and Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy (1996). The topic of Roman intellectual and cultural growth is one of the most studied aspects of republican history. G. B. Conte, Latin Literature (1994), is a comprehensive work that begins with the origins of Latin literature and continues into the early medieval period. E. Fantham, Roman Literary Culture (1996), answers the question of who in Rome read the books that helped shape Roman culture, and E.A. Hemelrijk, Matrona Docta: Educated Women in the Roman Elite from Cornelia to Julia Domna (1999) looks at women’s learning. T.N. Habesich, The Politics of Latin Literature (1998), studies the intimate relationship between the literature and politics of ancient Rome.
The great figures and events of the late republic have been the object of much work. E. S. Gruen, The Last Generation of the Roman Republic (1974), treats the period as a whole. Very important are the studies of E. Badian, Roman Imperialism in the Late Republic (1968) and Publicans and Sinners (1972). R. Syme, The Roman Revolution, rev. ed. (1952), is a classic. Valuable also are P. A. Brunt, Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic (1971); A. W. Lintott, Violence in the Roman Republic (1968); and J. K. Evans, War, Women, and Children in Ancient Rome (1991).
Many works deal with individual Romans who left their mark on this period. H. C. Boren, The Grachhi (1968), treats the work of the two brothers, and A. M. Eckstein’s Senate and Generals (1987) discusses how the decisions of individual general affected both the senate and Roman foreign relations. A. Keaveney, Sulla: The Last Republican, 2d ed., (2005), is a study of a man who thought of himself as a reformer. A. E. Astin has produced two works that are far more extensive than their titles indicate; Scipio Aemilianus (1967) and Cato the Censor (1978). J. Leach, Pompey the Great (1978), surveys the career of this politician, and B. Rawson, The Politics of Friendship: Pompey and Cicero (1978), treats both figures in their political environment. N. Wood, Cicero’s Social and Political Thought (1991), is an original study of Cicero’s thought about the Rome of his day. E. G. Huzar, Marc Antony (1987), offers a new assessment of the career of the man who challenged Octavian for control of the Roman world. Caesar’s onetime colleague Marcus Crassus is studied in B. A. Marshall, Crassus: A Political Biography (1976), and A. Ward, Marcus Crassus and the Late Roman Republic (1977). R. S. Weigel, Lepidus (1992), covers the career of the third member of the Second Triumvirate. Lastly, A. Kamm, Julius Caesar (2006), deals with his life as politician, orator, and writer.
K. D. White, Roman Farming (1970), deals with agriculture. Greek cultural influence on Roman life is the subject of A. Wardman, Rome’s Debt to Greece (1976). H. H. Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic (1981), gives a fresh look at religious practices. R. Turcam, The Gods of Ancient Rome (2000), provides a concise survey of the Roman pantheon. Work on Roman social history has advanced in several areas. G. Alfoeldy, a major scholar, has written The Social History of Rome (1985), an ambitious undertaking. G. G. Fagan, Bathing in Public in the Roman World (1998), carefully explains the social significance of the Roman bath. S. Dixon, The Roman Mother (1988), focuses on women’s roles as mothers within the Roman family. Three works concentrate on the family and women’s domestic and religious roles in society: J. K. Evans, War, Women, and Children in Ancient Rome (1991); A. Fraschetti, Roman Women (1993), which is devoted primarily to aristocratic women; and E. D’Ambra, Roman Women (2006), which examines women from all social ranks and is especially sensitive to the limitations of sources. A wealth of other research on the Roman family and related topics has appeared, including K. R. Bradley, Discovering the Roman Family (1990), a series of essays on Roman social history; S. Dixon, The Roman Family (1992); S. Treggiari, Roman Marriage (1991); and R. A. Baumann, Women and Politics in Ancient Rome (1993), which explores the mores of youth of the upper class. C. A. Williams, Roman Homosexuality (1999), argues that the stigma for the practice was placed not so much on the physical act as on the social status of the participants.
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